2012 MLB Mock Draft: First Round Pick-by-Pick Projections for Every Team
The Major League Baseball draft is set to begin Monday, and there's still a lot for teams to figure out between now and then.
For starters, this year has no clear-cut, No. 1 overall pick, making it a crap shoot as to who will be selected with the top five picks.
But, just like everyone else, I've come up with pick-by-pick projections for every team in the draft for the first round.
While in some instances it will be similar to other people's mock drafts, there will also be a degree of difference with mine.
So, here's a look at my projections for the first round.
1. Houston Astros: Mark Appel, RHP, Stanford
The Houston Astros have a tough decision to make here because they have a lot of holes in their minor league system.
Do they go with a pitcher who could possibly be in the big leagues by 2014, or do they take a high school outfielder who likely won't see the field until 2015 or beyond?
With the team needing help around most of the diamond, I feel the Astros go with Mark Appel, especially since they're moving to the American League.
Good pitching is needed more so in the American League, and the Astros are going to be no different.
Having power pitchers Wandy Rodriguez and Bud Norris are nice to have, but that's about where the depth of the rotation currently ends.
By the time 2014 rolls around, assuming Rodriguez and Norris stay in town, I think it's safe to say the Astros would have a decent rotation with Appel in the mix.
2. Minnesota Twins: Byron Buxton, OF, Appling Co. HS (GA)
It's true that Byron Buxton is only in high school, but if you're ever going to consider a sure thing from the high school ranks, Buxton is the one.
The Minnesota Twins are basically having a gift placed into their lap, and Buxton is the no-brainer here.
He has a strong arm and is the prototypical right fielder you like to see at the big-league level.
3. Seattle Mariners: Mike Zunino, C, Florida
The Seattle Mariners have nothing even close to depth at catcher in their organization.
Mike Zunino would be a perfect fit for them giving them a Brian McCann-type catcher for many years to come.
The Mariners have some major holes in the minor leagues at multiple positions, but catcher is where they are at bare bones, so this is a logical pick for them.
4. Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman, RHP, LSU
The Orioles already have Dylan Bundy in the minor leagues for pitching, but picking LSU's Kevin Gausman is a great depth move for them.
With the American League East being full of strong hitters—a team can never have too much pitching.
For the Orioles, if they want to continue the success, they've seen this year, they'll have to continue to build their pitching depth throughout the organization.
5. Kansas City Royals: Kyle Zimmer, RHP, San Francisco
The Kansas City Royals have a ton of offensive talent in their system.
Where they struggle the most is with their pitching, which is why I believe they go with Kyle Zimmer with the No. 5 pick.
Aaron Crow and Mike Montgomery could develop into good starting pitchers for the Royals, but what they're going to need is a front-line starter, which I think Zimmer can be in the big leagues.
His fastball runs into the high-90s, with great velocity.
This is the type of pitcher the Royals need in their system.
6. Chicago Cubs: Carlos Correa, SS, Puerto Rico Baseball Academy
Now, the Chicago Cubs do have Starlin Castro set to man shortstop for the next decade, but they would be dumb to pass up on a talent like Carlos Correa.
Correa does have good range and a good arm, so I wouldn't be surprised to see the Cubs move him to second or third base, which would help ensure he and Castro are in the lineup.
Josh Vitters is expected to man third base for the Cubs, so second base is more likely for Correa, that's if he switches positions at all.
7. San Diego Padres: Lucas Giolito, RHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
I imagine pitching is going to be the name of the game for the first few rounds for the San Diego Padres.
Lucas Giolito is a great pick here for the Padres, especially considering he could've been the No. 1 pick in this year's draft, had an ulnar collateral ligament injury not happened this year.
Still, the Padres like to gamble on high school stars, which is why I think they go with Giolito over his high school teammate—Max Fried.
8. Pittsburgh Pirates: Devin Marrero, SS, Arizona State
The Pittsburgh Pirates could go a number of places with this pick, but I believe they look for a polished bat.
Devin Marrero, although not ranked as high as other players, will definitely get consideration to be drafted at this spot.
He has great instincts at shortstop and is a line-drive hitter at the plate.
Marrero could make his debut in the big leagues by 2014, especially considering how thin the Pirates are at shortstop in their minor league system.
9. Miami Marlins: Max Fried, LHP, Harvard-Westlake HS (CA)
The Miami Marlins have the money to spend, spend, spend.
So, where do they go in the draft?
My guess is that they go with pitching, especially considering a dominant left-handed pitcher in Max Fried will still be on the board.
He has three plus-pitches, which is great for a high schooler, and with time, will develop a good fourth pitch to make him a valuable starter in the big leagues.
10. Colorado Rockies: Albert Amora, OF, Mater Academy (FL)
The Colorado Rockies have enough good pitching prospects in their system, which is why I think they go with an outfielder who can drive the ball to all fields.
Albert Amora is that guy and should see a lot of success at Coors Field.
By the time he develops in the minor leagues, there will be a good spot for him in left field to man for many years to come.
11. Oakland A's: Courtney Hawkins, OF, Carroll HS (TX)
The Oakland Athletics are another team that needs help all across the board.
Courtney Hawkins is projected as an outfielder but could also pitch as well.
The best thing about his game is his power, which could prove to be an advantage should the A's move out of the Bay Area.
12. New York Mets: Mike Wacha, RHP, Texas A&M
The way the New York Mets' history has been, pitching is never a bad thing to have a lot of.
Mike Wacha would be a great thing for the Mets to grab at this spot.
While teams covet power arms early in the draft, it's always nice to have a guy that is very durable, and will go out there and give you six or seven innings each start.
He does have a little power, but his durability is what sets him apart.
13. Chicago White Sox: Richie Shaffer, 1B/3B, Clemson
Richie Shaffer and the Chicago White Sox are a match made in heaven.
Whether it's at first or third base, Shaffer is the type of power hitter you look for from a corner infielder.
I could see him developing into more of a Mark Reynolds-type player in which he will strike out a little bit, but teams will be able to live with that since he does have good power.
14. Cincinnati Reds: Lance McCullers, RHP, Jesuit HS (FL)
When it comes to power on the mound, Lance McCullers is exactly that, which is why I think the Cincinnati Reds go with him at this spot.
McCullers has an above-average slider and a tight breaking ball.
Although his changeup still needs work, that's something that can be fixed in the minor leagues.
15. Cleveland Indians: Lucas Sims, RHP, Brookwood HS (GA)
This pick may be a little high for Lucas Sims, but this kid has a high ceiling. Trust me, I've seen it in person.
The Cleveland Indians have a thing for drafting power pitchers and developing them, which is why I think they'll take them here.
They're only hope is that they can keep him in house, instead of seeing him leave the same way Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia did.
16. Washington Nationals: Andrew Heaney, LHP, Oklahoma State
If Lucas Sims is still available here, the Washington Nationals will take him.
However, I think he goes one pick earlier, and the Nats go with lefty Andrew Heaney.
His delivery is consistent and can maintain a good velocity into the sixth, seventh and even eighth innings.
17. Toronto Blue Jays: Chris Stratton, RHP, Mississippi State
In their first of two picks in the first round, the Toronto Blue Jays are going to be looking at a developed pitcher with their first pick.
Chris Stratton fits the bill here.
He has four great pitches and keeps his control throughout the game.
In the American League East, that's key, especially considering how good the hitting is there.
18. Los Angeles Dodgers: Marcus Stroman, RHP, Duke
The Dodgers don't have many holes in their organization, so they go with the best reliever in the draft in Marcus Stroman.
With the experience he gained at Duke, Stroman can be pitching in the big leagues by the 2014 season, closing for the Dodgers.
19. St. Louis Cardinals: David Dahl, OF, Oak Mountain HS (AL)
After Albert Pujols left, there seemed to be a major hole left at first base for the foreseeable future in St. Louis.
But, that doesn't mean they go with a first baseman here.
David Dahl seems to be the best hitter left on the board, and that's where the Cardinals go with this pick.
Considered a Johnny Damon-type player, Dahl is an aggressive player who makes things happen.
That's exactly what the Cards need.
20. San Francisco Giants: Gavin Cecchini, SS, Barbe HS (LA)
Shortstop is a position of weakness for the San Francisco Giants, which is why I think they go for Gavin Cecchini with this pick.
He has great power to all fields and is very instinctive on the basepaths, making him a good base-stealing threat.
In many ways, I consider his offensive skills to be like Jason Heyward, except for the deep home-run threat, while his defense reminds me of Cal Ripken Jr. when he played shortstop.
21. Atlanta Braves: D.J. Davis, OF, Stone County HS (MS)
Speed is the biggest thing needed in the Atlanta Braves' organization.
D.J. Davis provides that and can be a leadoff hitter for the Braves for many years to come.
Although his arm isn't the greatest in the world, he's still more than capable of manning center field, which would be a perfect fit for the Braves, especially if Michael Bourn isn't in the organization after this year.
22. Toronto Blue Jays: Stephen Piscotty, 3B/OF, Stanford
Stephen Piscotty makes good, consistent contact with the ball, which is something the Blue Jays need at the plate.
They took care of the pitching aspect with their first pick in the first round, and I think they focus on offense with this pick.
Piscotty can also play the outfield, giving the team flexibility to play him in multiple positions.
He's really looking like a Martin Prado-type player, who will be able to hit in the No. 2 hole, setting up the heart of the order.
23. St. Louis Cardinals: Corey Seager, INF, Northwest Cabarrus HS (NC)
The best thing about Corey Seager is that you can play him anywhere on the infield.
For that reason alone, I think the Cardinals go with him at this pick.
Seager has quick hands at the plate and can hit for power.
I wouldn't be surprised if he's the first high school position player to be called up from this year's draft class.
24. Boston Red Sox: Joey Gallo, 3B, Bishop Gorman HS (NV)
A few months ago, I thought Joey Gallo would've gone higher in the draft, but his stock has slipped a little this season.
But, that's a good thing for the Boston Red Sox.
His raw power makes him a good fit in Fenway Park, especially considering how short it is down the lines.
The only concern is whether he'll play third or first.
If it's the latter, he could be blocked by Adrian Gonzalez for a few years, and the Red Sox might be forced to trade him.
But, that's a worry for later on down the road.
25. Tampa Bay Rays: Victor Roache, OF, Georgia Southern
If there's any hitter in this year's draft that is a bit of a wild card, it's Victor Roache.
I believe he has some power that has yet to be tapped into, which is why I think he's a perfect fit for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Roache has a solid approach to the plate and isn't going to get fooled by too many pitchers.
26. Arizona Diamondbacks: Zach Eflin, RHP, Hagerty HS (FL)
The Arizona Diamondbacks can still use a little pitching in their system, which is why I believe they go with Zach Eflin here.
He has great movement on all of his pitches and really understands the game.
I look at him as an Ian Kennedy-type pitcher, which is ironic considering Kennedy also pitches for the Diamondbacks.
27. Milwaukee Brewers: Stryker Trahan, C, Acadiana HS (LA)
The Milwaukee Brewers need catching depth.
Stryker Trahan can provide that to them.
He has a great arm behind the plate and a plus bat.
The Brewers can develop his power even more and he could become a dangerous five- or six-hole hitter for the team.
28. Milwaukee Brewers: Ty Hensley, RHP, Santa Fe HS (OK)
With the second of their back-to-back picks, the Brewers will go with pitching.
Ty Hensley is a pitcher with three great pitches that he can locate anywhere he wants to.
Although right-handed, I see Hensley as having the same control and power as Tom Glavine did, although you really can't predict whether he'll have the same kind of success the future Hall of Famer did.
29. Texas Rangers: Addison Russell, SS/3B, Pace HS (FL)
This might be the steal of the draft for the Texas Rangers.
Addison Russell can play multiple positions and has very good hands at the plate.
Still a raw talent, though, Russell is going to need a bit more of development in the minor leagues to get where a team can be confident to throw him out there every day in the lineup.
But, once he does, he'll be a dangerous hitter.
30. New York Yankees: Tanner Rahier, SS, Palm Desert HS (CA)
Derek Jeter doesn't have too many years left as the Yankees' shortstop.
It's time that they start considering someone who could replace him.
Tanner Rahier would be a shortstop I would look at doing so, although he might be a better fit at third base.
His bat is above average and is going to be his ticket to the big leagues.
31. Boston Red Sox: Matt Smoral, LHP, Solon HS (OH)
The final pick of the first round will be a pitcher by the Red Sox.
Any time you can get a lefty with a high ceiling, it's a plus.
And, although it's going to take a lot of work to get him ready for the big leagues, the Red Sox can afford to be patient.
My guess is that he will spend at least a year at each level, with a likely MLB debut of 2016 or 2017.